Skip to main content

Abolish death sentence! It is a barbaric act and not in sync with civilised society

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
So Yakub Memon was finally hanged to death early this morning (July 30th) in the Nagpur Central Jail! The 54-year old Chartered Accountant was convicted for the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts which took the lives of 267 people and injured many more. The team of lawyers defending him tried every possible option to stay the death penalty but to no avail.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s final plea for clemency despite a petition from several eminent citizens. 
The petition which was signed by over 300 persons (former Supreme Court judges, academia, human rights activists, film makers, politicians and others from civil society) requested the President to stay Memon’s execution citing procedural lapses and “disturbing aspects of this case which make the award of death sentence of Yakub Memon as grossly unfair, arbitrary and excessive”.
Apart from the fact that Yakub Memon had already served more than the stipulated time for life imprisonment and that there was little evidence of his direct involvement in the blasts, he was still hanged. Several citizens have termed it as ‘legal murder’.
A sense of permissiveness seems to have permeated several sections of Indian society. From last evening, one could see a sense of gloating of ‘fait accompli’ - as people thronged the gates of Nagpur Central Jail for ‘selfies’; media anchors and reporters felt that it is their divine responsibility to scream and yell for a man’s blood! The three members of the Apex Court wouldn’t even consider a further fourteen days reprieve.
On the other hand, Maya Kodnani the linchpin of the Naroda Patiya massacres (and already convicted to more than a life term) gets bail today from the Gujarat High Court; the master-minds of the Gujarat Genocide and the encounter killings of innocent youth, roam freely with immunity and impunity and also hold some of the highest offices of the land; Jayalalitha has been acquitted due to ‘miscalculations’ of her scandalous assets; the Vyapam scam has already taken the toll of more than forty lives; the ‘Lalit-gate’ corruption issue; the killings of dalits, tribals and minorities; the hate-speeches of law makers – for all this and more, many conveniently turn a blind eye.
“There is indeed something rotten in the State of Denmark!”
No, we are not advocating the death penalty for anyone! The death penalty must be abolished! It is a barbaric act and not in sync with civilised society. No violence can be justified; no murder can be rectified; death penalty however is not the answer! Objective studies clearly demonstrate that in nations and societies where the death penalty has been abolished, the crime rate has decreased dramatically.
On March 20, Pope Francis writing to the International Commission Against Death Penalty says, “today the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed; capital punishment contradicts God’s plan for man and society and does not render justice to the victims but rather fosters vengeance.”
Two wrongs have never made a right. Let us hope that at least in this ‘legal murder’ of Yakub Memon that we all awake and work towards the abolition of the death penalty in India!
---
*Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Comments

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

Ex-official: Murmu, appointed as CAG, will 'surely' perform shradh of the institution

Counterview Desk
A former senior official of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Shantanu Basu, in a Facebook comment in the wake of the appointment of GC Murmu, a Gujarat IAS cadre official of the 1985, has raised doubts about the independence of CAG following the Government of India move.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.